If you wanted to give me the best birthday/Christmas/anniversary present combined, it might be the news I’ve just heard. (Quick, someone go tell my boyfriend he’s off the hook for gifts this year.) What is it that has me so gosh-darned giddy with delight? Diana Gabaldon’s fantastic Outlander series starter, 1991's Outlander, may soon be coming to TV. And if that weren’t enough to send me over the moon, Ron Moore, aka the Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer, will be turning the book into a script. (I may be doing a dance of geek joy, that might be what's going on right now.)
Now, any time that Gabaldon’s name comes up in conversation here at RT I am likely to bust out my anecdote about just how good these books are. (Believe me, the RT editors have all suffered through the story several times.) But let me express just how good this series is once again. Before I tell you this story, it’s important to know two things about me: One, that I was a good student in college. I went to all my classes, handed in my work and got good grades. And two, I read very quickly. Do you have those facts firmly in mind? Okay, now I am not exaggerating here at all, so here we go. The week that I discovered Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, I didn’t go to class. I didn’t go to the dining hall. Basically, I didn’t leave my room; I just read these books.
And before you think, “Whitney is insane,” I am not alone in abandoning the modern world while reading Outlander. In fact, this phenomenon happens so frequently to booklovers that there’s a petition to formally recognize the condition as Outlanderitis. (Okay, maybe that’s a lie, but there should be.)
Anyways, I am pretty comfortable with the fact that what happened to me was a severe case of the disease, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a survivor.
In that week I learned:
1) To love my first virgin hero: highlander Jamie
2) To sympathize with the time-travel-challenged WWII nurse Claire who gets dumped onto the Scottish Highlands during the 1700s
3) To truly believe that everything Gabaldon mentions actually happened — even if it didn’t (these books are that good)
So the news that my twin loves, romance novels and television, have come together to create an Outlander TV show is literally a dream come true. Now, no casting news has been announced yet. In fact, according to Deadline.com, Sony Pictures is shopping the TV series to cable channels right now. But that certainly hasn’t stopped me from creating my own Hollywood dream couple to play the part of the books' tortured lovers, Claire and Jamie.
Heroine Claire was difficult to cast for several reasons. First, because RT’s Morgan mentioned to me that Diana Gabaldon had told her during an interview that she loved the idea of Katherine Heigl playing series heroine Claire. (But, I have a really hard time seeing KH as anyone other than the very, very troubled Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy.) Instead, I think Girl with a Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara would be a strong and fierce Claire. But Shameless’ Emmy Rossum would be an acceptable alternative as she captures the heroine's softer side. Frankly, Claire has so many facets that I think several Hollywood A-listers would be able to do a good job, but Mara and Rossum are definitely my front runners.
Thankfully, I had no such dilemma about who should play Claire's sexy Highland counterpart. I have Kit Harrington (aka John Snow from Game of Thrones) firmly in mind as the perfect Jamie. He’s got Jamie’s spirit and a willingness to fight for what’s right — and the love of his life, Claire — no matter the cost. But he also has a faintly untouchable look, lending him the perfect air of innocence for Jamie. My choice of Kit may have some haters protesting, “But John Snow shares Jamie’s physicality and is similarly carrying his V card. You didn’t do any true searching to cast Jamie.” However, to those folks I have one response: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Who would you cast as Claire and Jamie? Let me know in the comments below! For more upcoming adaptation news be sure to check out our monthly column From Page To Screen or visit the RT Everything Romance Page for all the latest genre coverage.